Wiz fall to short-handed Heat
The Philadelphia 76ers keep giving the Wizards chances to reach their goal to overtake them for ninth place in the East.
The Wizards, however, keep passing on the favor.
The 76ers (31-47) have dropped three in a row, including a 23-point loss Wednesday.
The Wizards (29-50) have a three-game losing streak, too.
After failing to beat the Miami Heat (62-16), who were playing without their three best players LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, their goal of being one spot removed from a playoff spot took another hit.
Ray Allen came off the bench to score 23 points for Miami, which made 17 of 41 three-point shots (41.5%) in a 103-98 victory. The Wizards, who have been eliminated from playoff contention for more than a week, allowed the New York Knicks to make 20 of 36 on Tuesday in a 21-point loss.
“It all boiled down to 34 points in the fourth quarter,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “Defensively, just the last three games, we haven’t been very good.”
Shane Battier contributed 15 points, Mike Miller had 14 and Mario Chalmers 13. Chris Anderson and Norris Cole contributed eight for Miami which secured the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs with the victory and set a franchise record for the most regular season wins.
“I tried to tell our guys, there’s not a single young guy out there other than maybe Norris Cole,” Wittman said. “It’s a veteran group that knows how to play, knows the tricks, can shoot, can make plays.”
John Wall came close to a triple-double for Washington, with 17 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. He also had two steals and two blocks and limited himself to only two turnovers.
The loss ended the Wizards’ nine-game home winning streak and underscored a problem they've had all season with beating weaker teams or teams without their star players.
The Heat made 5 of 9 threes in the first quarter which is why they led 25-22 despite nine turnovers.
“It’s very tough to run them off a three when they got quick releases and even when you try to run them off they pump fake, take a step to the side and still shoot three,” Wall said. “We still feel like we gave this game away.
“We've had a lot of games like that. This is one you want to win. Those guys are not playing. … They went after it. We didn't.”
Martell Webster finished with 12 points but made only 2 of 7 shots. He re-aggravated an abdominal strain and had to leave the game in the third quarter.
“We should've blown that team out. We just couldn't get it going,” Webster said. “You got to be able to take care of those games.”
A.J. Price scored a career-high 23 points off the bench to lead Washington. He made 8 of 12 shots, including 5 of 8 three-pointers. Offense isn't the problem for a team that started the season 4-28 but was hoping to close stronger than this.
The problem is at the other end.
"We just need to get back to playing defense. For whatever reason, these past couple of games, we haven't been playing the type of defense we're capable of playing," Price said. "Teams have been scoring too much, shooting a very high percentage and (getting) a lot of offensive rebounds.
"A lot of things that were happening at the beginning of the year ... are happening now."